Assuming you haven't sustained a critical injury and are dealing with issues like cuts, bruises, or potential fractures, you'll have to decide where to go. Prompt medical attention is still vital after an accident to diagnose and treat potential hidden injuries like organ damage, concussions, or internal bleeding. If you delay your medical check-up, you might face allegations from the at-fault driver or insurance company that your injuries occurred after the accident, undermining your chances of complete compensation.
Your decision will depend on several factors, as urgent care centers and hospital emergency rooms present key differences. Considerations such as your personal preferences, injury specifics, and individual circumstances will play a significant role. Some of these factors include:
- Waiting duration: Urgent care centers usually have shorter waiting times. Patients at urgent care clinics typically see a doctor within 15 minutes, whereas those in emergency rooms might wait for an hour or more (provided the patient's condition is not critical).
- Expense: Medical costs often deter accident victims from seeking immediate healthcare. Healthcare in the United States is notoriously expensive. However, if the accident was caused by another driver's negligence, your medical expenses should be covered by the negligent party or their insurance. Generally, emergency rooms cost significantly more than urgent care visits.
- Quality of care: While you can anticipate satisfactory treatment at an urgent care clinic, the expertise of doctors in emergency rooms often surpasses their counterparts. For serious injuries, the reassurance of top-tier medical professionals can be beneficial.
- Broad testing, referrals: Emergency rooms focus on triage, addressing immediate, emergency problems. They are not designed for long-term treatment and ongoing care. If your injuries are not life-threatening, they will typically treat visible issues and then refer you to a primary care doctor. Urgent care clinics might offer more comprehensive care before discharge due to lesser pressure to make room for emergency cases.
Regardless of your decision, prioritize getting medical attention post-accident. Consult an experienced car accident attorney for advice and support in obtaining compensation for your medical expenses and other losses.